Saturday is “Coffee Day” and this year it is determined by rising coffee prices. Due to international crises, green coffee prices are rising on the world market. As a result, both Salzburg’s roasting plants and their customers are exposed to higher prices.
Coffee is an international product, so international crises affect the price of each individual bean. Climate change repeatedly causes crop failures in the countries of origin in South America, Africa and Southeast Asia, which leads to high green coffee prices. In addition, the purchase prices in Austria are also rising because of the poor euro exchange rate.
Coffee roasters wait months for deliveries
The transport from the cultivation countries to the roasting plant in Salzburg is not getting any easier. The coronavirus pandemic and the war of aggression in Ukraine are throwing international logistics off balance.
For green coffee importers, such as the coffee roaster Andrej Muzeka from Zell am See (Pinzgau), importing has become more difficult. “The delay is sometimes two or three months,” says the coffee roaster from Zell, “containers arrive, cannot be processed, are stuck at customs, there is simply not enough manpower. The containers have become three times as expensive because of the crude oil costs, which have shot up. It has become very, very difficult for the green coffee importers.”
High energy costs as a price driver
Once the beans have arrived in Austria, the coffee still has to be processed in Salzburg. Increased energy costs also play a role here. In the small roastery in Zell am See, the gas costs are manageable, but it is different in Hallwang (Flachgau). The roastery produces 4,500 tons of coffee per year. According to Dieter Bretz, finance director for the European market, the cost of gas has increased sevenfold and that of electricity. “Of course, that has an incredible impact on the manufacturing costs,” explains Dieter Bretz.
As in many other areas, the additional costs must then be passed on to the customers. Bulk coffee prices rose more sharply than specialty coffees, which are already generally sold at higher prices. Customers are used to the high prices for special types of coffee. The roasters hope that the customers’ willingness to pay will remain even after the receipt crises. Potential beneficiaries would be the coffee farmers, who often work for lower wages in developing countries.